Vases with Mythological figures
Model mid 18th century
Manufactured ca. 1880-1900
Museum of MEISSEN Art, MEISSEN Manufactory
300 Years of Meissen
Saturday 8 January 8 - March 6, 2011
The year 2011 coincides with the 150th anniversary of Japan-Germany trade relations and the previous year, 2010, marked the 300th anniversary of the establishment of the German factory at Meissen, the birthplace of Western porcelain. In recognition of these landmarks, this exhibition presents the drama of the birth of Western porcelain along with the complete story of its 300-year history through a selection of the very best of the roughly 20,000 pieces in the collection of the Museum of MEISSEN Art, MEISSEN Manufactory. Much more than cultural heritage with a history, this collection plays an important role as a precious resource that continues to sustain the production of Meissen ware even today, and represents a museum that could be possible only at a “living manufactory”.
On par with spices and silks, the most precious of trade articles between East and West, Chinese porcelains became known as “white gold” and gradually attracted the fascination of the European nobility from the time of the Age of Exploration onward. One wildly enthusiastic collector of these porcelains was Friedrich AugustⅠ(known as August the Strong, 1670-1733), Elector of Sachsen. Under his order, alchemist Johann Friedrich Böttger developed a formula for manufacturing porcelain wares, which had hitherto been a mystery to the West. In 1710, the Royal Porcelain Manufactory was established at the castle in Meissen overlooking the Elbe River, raising the curtain on the 300-year story of Meissen.
This exhibition offers an overview of the superb technique and refined design sensibility of Meissen ware as represented in the styles of each period of its development, from the pre-porcelain invention of red Böttger stoneware to Kakiemon copies and Chinoiserie that reveal a yearning for the Orient, and from August’s magnificent porcelain menagerie fantasy to graceful rococo styles, epic monuments of the international expositions, and masterpieces of the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras.
For more information please visit: The Suntory Museum of Art